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Freezer-friendly black bean burritos are made for breakfast or any other time of day

UPDATED: Wed., May 13, 2020

Beans combine with eggs, chorizo and cheese for a burrito that freezes well. (Tom McCorkle / Tom McCorkle/For The Washington Post)
Beans combine with eggs, chorizo and cheese for a burrito that freezes well. (Tom McCorkle / Tom McCorkle/For The Washington Post)
By Becky Krystal Washington Post

No one really wants their refrigerator to die on them, but sometimes blessings come in disguise. I had never been a fan of our inefficiently laid-out fridge. Yet in the nearly 10 years we’d owned our home, I had not felt compelled to replace it – until my hand was forced last summer. The freezer stopped keeping food cold, which is obviously the point, so I said goodbye to my appliance nemesis.

I went back to the basics with my new one, prioritizing a maximum amount of space over things like a water dispenser and double doors. I also prioritized freezer over fridge space. I’ve felt vindicated in that decision many times since then, but never more so than now as I’ve turned to my freezer over and over again during the coronavirus pandemic.

And one of the things you’ll almost always find in there are these Black Bean Breakfast Burritos. They work just as well for breakfast as any other meal, and if your family is anything like mine, everyone will love them (even my picky toddler!). The star is a pot of smoky, creamy black beans made in my Instant Pot and inspired by a recipe in Deb Perelman’s first Smitten Kitchen cookbook. They make the ideal accompaniment to spicy chorizo, gooey cheese and scrambled eggs.

The yield of the beans is double the amount you need for one batch of burritos, so you can freeze the extra beans for another time. Or, use them all at once for a very large batch of 12 burritos, doubling the rest of the ingredients. I’ve given a range of servings based on how full you like your burritos. At six, they’re stuffed like what you might get at a fast-casual restaurant. If you want something more restrained, stretch the filling to make eight. They’ll still be satisfying. For my son, I grab a separate package of soft-taco-size tortillas for slightly smaller roll-ups.

I kept the base filling simple and pantry-friendly. This is a great place to use store-bought soy chorizo or homemade tofu chorizo, though pork or beef will work just as well. Customize the experience with your choice of extras, such as salsa, cilantro or pickled onions or jalapenos. I like to serve the burritos with salsa and guacamole, too. Even if your freezer is not as generously sized or stuffed to the brim as mine, I hope you’ll set aside some real estate for these burritos. They’re worth every inch – and more.

Black Bean Breakfast Burritos

From Becky Krystal; black bean recipe adapted from “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” by Deb Perelman.

You’ll need an electric pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot. If you prefer a slow cooker, cook the beans on high for 3 to 6 hours. You also may substitute two 15-ounce cans (about 3 cups) of canned beans, drained.

For the black beans

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 dried chile pepper, such as ancho or New Mexico

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons kosher salt

10 cups water

1 pound dried black beans, rinsed

For the burritos

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided, plus more as needed

8 to 9 ounces chorizo (soy, beef or pork), casing removed

4 to 6 large eggs

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups (8 ounces) grated cheese, such as pepper jack, Monterey jack or cheddar

6 to 8 (10-inch) flour tortillas

For the black beans: Add the bay leaves, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chile pepper, tomato paste, salt, water and black beans to the electric pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 27 minutes, let the pressure release naturally for 30 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure. If the beans are undercooked, either bring the machine back to pressure and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then manually release the pressure to check again, or continue to cook the beans uncovered, on the saute function if using an Instant Pot. Remove the chile pepper and bay leaves. If continuing with the burritos, drain 3 cups of beans and store the remaining beans in their liquid in the refrigerator or freezer. (The liquid would make a terrific, flavorful base for soup or chili.)

For the burritos: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Crumble the chorizo into the skillet and saute until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes – the timing will depend on the type of chorizo you use, but if you have an instant-read thermometer, cook it until the temperature registers 165 degrees. Transfer the chorizo to a plate.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and season with salt and pepper, to taste. The chorizo may have rendered fat into the skillet. If it looks dry, however, add more oil as needed (about 1 tablespoon of fat total is good). Reduce the heat to medium. Pour the beaten eggs into the skillet, allow them to set for a minute or 2, and then reduce the heat to medium-low to finish cooking. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Have all the components at hand to assemble the burritos. Divide the cheese, chorizo, black beans and eggs evenly among the tortillas, keeping the filling in the lower half to two-thirds of the tortillas. For 8 burritos, aim for about 1/4 cup cheese, 3/4 ounce chorizo (the final yield of the cooked chorizo will vary, but when we tested with 9 ounces soy chorizo, it was about 6 ounces) and a bit shy of 1/2 cup black beans per burrito. Fold the sides of the burrito over the filling and then, starting with the side closest to you, roll it into a cylinder, tucking the filling and tortilla in as you go. At this point, the assembled burritos can be refrigerated or frozen.

Thaw overnight in the rerfrigerator or briefly reheat the burritos as needed in the microwave. Everything is cooked, so you’re just warming it through and crisping the outside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 1 or 2 burritos to the skillet, seam side down. Cook until the tortilla is golden and crisp, rotating to brown on all sides. Repeat with as many more burritos as you want to cook, adding more oil as needed. Serve warm.

Storage notes: The cooked black beans can be refrigerated in their liquid for as long as five days or frozen for several months. The assembled burritos can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for several months.

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